Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Trae Young
- Trae Young had a historic freshman season at Oklahoma, and seems like an ideal fit for the modern NBA.
- Still, he’s likely to slide on draft day, partly because of teams’ current investments in point guards.
- You can profit from his slide at a variety of sportsbooks.
There have been exactly zero players in the history of basketball who have posted a shot profile similar to Trae Young’s or had to handle an equivalent offensive workload. He’s also one of only four freshman to average more than 25 ppg. The last two (Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant) were both drafted No. 2 overall.
But all of that means nothing because Young almost certainly isn’t going in the top two picks. So where will the most polarizing lottery pick end up?
Bet Online Currently Has This Prop Posted for Young:
- 7th pick or better: -115
- 8th pick or worse: -115
Let’s look at who’s selecting in top 10, which teams have a need for a player such as Trae and where he’ll likely fall.
Here’s each team in the top 10 and how they ranked last season in a variety of categories that a lead ball-handler would directly affect:
The teams with the two most obvious needs in terms of offensive creation, not surprisingly, sit at the top. But Trae’s not going to be drafted over DeAndre Ayton, and the Kings seem locked in on Marvin Bagley at No. 2. Even if the Kings weren’t keen on Bagley, it seems unlikely Sacramento would take a point guard after investing a high pick in De’Aaron Fox last year. The same is likely true for the Mavericks at No. 5, who grabbed Dennis Smith last year, and it’s probably the case for the Grizzlies at No. 4, who still have Mike Conley locked into a long-term deal.
That leaves the Hawks, Magic, or Bulls to select Trae in order for him to hit the under on his 7th-pick-or-better prop. The Hawks are definitely the wild card here, but I don’t think they’ll pull the trigger with guys such as Jaren Jackson and Luke Doncic on the board, who are legitimate All-World prospects (and who should go 1-2, in my opinion). The Magic have a clear need at point guard after flaming out with their Elfrid Payton investment in 2014, and they’ve been trying to compile shooting ever since the spaced-out Stan Van Gundy teams dissolved. That being said, the new management, led by GM John Hammond, have historically preferred length and athleticism. Hammond, who was the GM of the Milwaukee Bucks before taking this job, was a big reason why they invested in guys such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker. For that reason, I think it’s likely the Magic target Michael Porter Jr. or Mo Bamba.
That leaves just the Chicago Bulls, who did trade for and invest in guards Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. I personally wouldn’t let those players stop me from investing in the high upside of Young, but organizations typically don’t build teams that way. The Bulls have an intriguing rising sophomore in Lauri Markkanen, but they need to fill out the frontcourt around him. As a result, I expect they’ll be looking at the trio of Porter, Bamba or Wendell Carter, Jr. That leaves Trae to drop to eight to the Cavs, nine to the Knicks or 10 to the Sixers. The Cavs are a wild card, especially with the LeBron James’ status up in the air, but the Knicks have a clear need for a lead ball-handler. I think that’s where Trae’s fall will stop, and thus I think the 8th pick or worse side of this prop is worth taking.
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